Steve Cummings completes stunning British nationals double with solo victory in road race
Dimension Data rider backs up time trial with road race victory
Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) became the first rider since 2007 to win the British road race and time trial title in the same year with a stunning road race victory on the Isle of Man.
Cummings, who beat Alex Dowsett (Movistar) to the time trial on Thursday, went clear in the final 10km of the 193.7km race, leaving Chris Lawless (Axeon-Hagens Berman) and Ian Bibby (JLT Condor) to complete the podium.
The Dimension Data rider had kept his powder dry for much of the race as attacks flew off the front on the opening 120km on the famous Mountain Course.
Cummings was then one of a number of riders to bridge across to an elite group which dominated the latter stages, including Ian Stannard and Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky), Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates), and Alex Dowsett (Movistar).
The leaders worked well to keep any more chasers at bay, before the attacks started in the final three 6.7km laps around the finish in Douglas.
Kennaugh, Swift, and Lawless all tried their luck, but it was only Cummings who was able to make a move stick, pulling clear with seven kilometres to go and extending his advantage all the way to the line.
While Cummings crossed the lines with his arms aloft to become the first rider since David Millar in 2007 to win the British road race and time trial titles in the same year, Lawless out-sprinted Bibby for second, while Kennaugh was the best of the rest in fourth.
How it happened
The first of two laps of the Mountain Course saw a large group of around 20 riders go clear including defending champion Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) and Alex Dowsett (Dimension Data).
They gained a maximum advantage of more than a minute, but with no Team Sky riders in the move it seemed likely that the break would be caught.
The break was caught near the start of the second 60km lap, and the next few kilometres saw a number of moves slip off the front and come straight back, before a sizeable group of around 25 riders was able to get away and open a gap of around a minute.
That group worked well together to the bottom of the climb up Snaefell Mountain when Ian Stannard (Team Sky) attacked, pulling Dowsett, Scott Davies (Team Wiggins), Chris Lawless (Axeon-Hagens Berman), Graham Briggs (JLT Condor), and James Shaw (Lotto Soudal) clear with him.
Those six riders led onto the shorter 6.7km circuit around Douglas, holding a lead of around 25 seconds over the chasers. They worked well together, but there were counter-attacks coming from behind, with Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) bridging across with Ian Bibby (JLT Condor), before Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) joined a few kilometres later.
The gap between the leaders and the chasing group remained at around 30 seconds for a number of kilometres, allowing Tao Geoghegan Hart, Jon Dibben (Team Sky), Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data), and Tom Moses (JLT Condor) also coming across to further swell the front group.
With five laps to go a flurry of attacks from Kennaugh and Swift, with those two going clear with Bibby, Lawless and Cummings. Those five riders worked well for the next couple of laps, with Stannard engaged in a typically dogged solo chase behind.
At the start of the penultimate lap the cooperation broke down with Swift and Lawless attacking through the finish line. That briefly looked like a promising move, but was eventually closed down, giving the opportunity for Cummings to had a go on his own.
Cummings opened a lead of around 12 seconds over Lawless, Kennaugh, and Bibby with six kilometres to go. Over the next couple of kilometre Cummings showed exactly why he won the national time trial title three days ago, extending his lead out to 27 seconds.
With that lead there was no catching Cummings, who comfortably held on to the finish, while Lawless out-sprinted Bibby for second.
British Road National Championships, men’s road race: Douglas to Douglas (193.7km)
1. Steve Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data
2. Chris Lawless (GBr) Axeon-Hagens Berman
3. Ian Bibby (GBr) JLT Condor
4. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky